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Robust-Necked Azhdarchid Pterosaur from the Maastrichtian of Romania

Ben Creisler

A new paper (free pdf link is not yet posted on American Museum site):

Mátyás Vremir, Mark Witton, Darren Naish, Gareth Dyke, Stephen L.
Brusatte, Mark Norell, and Radu Totoianu (2015)
A Medium-Sized Robust-Necked Azhdarchid Pterosaur (Pterodactyloidea:
Azhdarchidae) from the Maastrichtian of Pui (Hateg Basin,
Transylvania, Romania).
American Museum Novitates  3827: 1-16
doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1206/3827.1

AMNH link:


We describe a pterosaurian cervical vertebra collected from
Maastrichtian sediments at the Pui locality in the Haţeg Basin,
Romania. This specimen, a medium-sized, robust fourth cervical, is
distinctive in morphology and represents a new, as yet unrecognized,
azhdarchid pterosaur size class within the Hateg Island fauna: it most
likely belongs to a new taxon which we opt not to name here. The
vertebra is referred to Azhdarchidae based on clearly preserved
diagnostic features characteristic of this group and differs in
proportions and anatomical details from the recently named azhdarchid
Eurazhdarcho langendorfensis Vremir et al., 2013a, from the Sebeş
region of the Transylvanian basin. We take issue with claims that all
Maastrichtian Romanian azhdarchids (and other penecontemporaneous
azhdarchids and azhdarchoids) should be uncritically assumed to be
synonymous: it ignores anatomical characters that allow the specimens
concerned to be differentiated and is based on an erroneous "one
stratum, one species" philosophy contradicted by empirical data from
other azhdarchoid assemblages. It has been suggested that the absence
of small to medium-sized pterosaurs in Upper Cretaceous sediments is
indicative of an evolutionary trend. However, evidence from the Haţeg
Island fauna may indicate instead that smaller-sized pterosaurs were
indeed present in this interval but remain underrepresented due to
rare preservation and collection.